Hello, Paul and lovely ladies,
By far what stands out most is physical changes. I've probably not outlined ALL of the chronological regression that's taken place since my car accident in '78 and subsequent surgery in the mid-80's, but I'll try to give a brief overview, so that you may better appreciate the significance of these physical changes that I'm now experiencing.
After surgery to lengthen the heel cord, foot pressure and the interference to my knee was very painful, and I consequently stopped using the front portion of my foot to walk - just used my heel for weight-bearing, like a stump. Consequently connecting tissues to the ankle, calf and on up, went un-utilized and led to a lopsidedness that I've just overcome (hips, mostly) in the past year. Naturally, this eventually led to sacrum and back issues, and in addition, because it was so difficult for me to plant my feet for a good foundation, I constantly used my upper body improperly to attempt to exert pressure, like chopping vegetables for instance or constantly leaning on counters and walls, grabbing hand rails and furniture.
I'd always assumed that any imbalance I had during these decades was entirely due to leg/ankle/foot incapability, despite the fact that right side vestibular dysfunction was diagnosed in the 80's at the Mayo Clinic. I didn't think I was experiencing any vertigo.
Looking back I think I'd probably adapted to vestibular imbalance with neck rigidity, and muscular rigidity just about everywhere else, too. After Listening, I believe there's been some restoration of vestibular balance and so what seems to me to have happened, is that muscles throughout are now willing to let go their hold. They've been holding on tightly for nearly 40 years!
Most notably, what seems to be releasing (which began on day 1 of listening, and still continues in fits and spurts) is my neck. The exercises that Louise sent regarding relaxing face, jaw, tongue etc. seem to be very helpful, particularly in increasing my awareness of the tension I hold there, and I try to let this go when I note it throughout the day. I feel very comfortable, neck-wise, lying in bed at night - am not struggling to find the right position. As well, I am trying to become more cognizant of using my head to turn my head, and not my face. Thus, it feels overall like I am gradually finding an entirely new way to move my neck; it’s becoming smoother and seems better supported.
I had a kind of face/jaw/head massage one day. My jaw (or at least my bite) shifted considerably into what definitely feels like it's proper place.
I have realized that there may be substantial head/neck/jaw work yet to be done, partly due to positional details of my accident, compensating habits and particularly since seeing my recent dental x rays. I know I wasn't supposed to do this - sorry! - but the opportunity arose for a gentle session of CranioSacral Therapy with someone I trust, and I believe it further helped my neck in finding it's "home" position. It seemed to alter my vision somewhat for several days (sharper around the edges) in the same way that I noticed periodically over the course of my listening. I think I'd like to have more craniosacral work done, but am holding off for now, until discussion with you, Paul.
I've had one chiropractic appointment in the interim, and asked him to address sub occipitals, which he did with brief massage (I noted these muscles in reading the exercises Louise sent me). I was amazed how strong and straight my neck felt when I left his office.
As you know, over the past 7 years, I've been working hard at loosening up atrophied muscles in my foot, leg, shoulders etc., and the changes that have come about have been squeakily incremental. I continue to do this work but have found that I'm responding much more quickly than in the past. Now you may have thought that I moved alright when we met, and you might not notice much of a difference if we met again today, but
I am noticing very big things. My foot has been loosening up wonderfully and I have begun to develop a calf muscle. I roll through my foot more smoothly and with much more stability and am able to meet the floor with much more of my foot. I think there is more flow in general to my movements and I am more relaxed about moving - it doesn't seem like such a big deal to have to run outside and haul back in the cat that escaped off the deck.
Digestion continues to be much, much better.
With respect to sound, there seems to be an overall increase in comfort; generally less irritation with sounds; and I refer to usual sounds. I've not gone out looking to find loud noises, as there seems to be a built-in anxiety about putting myself in such a situation, and I'm satisfied for the moment to just sense changes in a general way. I think I am grasping dialogue better, including foreign accents. At times, I will be able to hear and comprehend dialogue on a tv program far more easily than I'm used to, and in general hearing the tv is not at all a strain like it used to be. Traffic noise, bathroom fan, dishwasher, as background noise seem less noticeable or at least it seems easier to "put it away." It can vary from day to day. My microwave door when shutting it still has a very annoying clunk, and grabbing a handful of ice cubes sounds as sharp as ever most days.
I have been reading out loud irregularly. The strength and vitality of my voice seems good on some days and then rather pitiful on others.
I have been quite occupied with a couple of outside issues that have arisen since I got back from Toronto and as well, I don't think I recovered fully from my tensing for 3 weeks or so (from Jan. 30). So honestly it feels as though only the last 2 or so weeks have been "settled" for me - finally! - and I've been able to focus and appreciate the changes that are going on. Very positive!